Missouri rebounds from Friday loss, wins series over Tennessee

For the third time this season, the Tigers bounced back from a Friday loss to take the series.

In the first of back-to-back weekend series in Tennessee, No. 24 Missouri (33-16-1, 12-11-1 SEC) took two of three from the No. 23 Volunteers (32-16, 10-14 SEC). The weekend was filled with high-scoring games, a rain delay and MU starting pitchers coming in for relief appearances in the all-hands-on-deck win Sunday.

Friday

Tennessee began the series with an 11-5 win on Friday night behind a 10-0 run in the late innings that wiped away what had been a 5-1 Missouri advantage.

The Tiger offense got to work early, taking a 1-0 lead in the first inning and adding more runs in the second and fourth. Four Missouri hitters finished with multiple hits, including senior Connor Brumfield, who hit a two-run homer in the fourth to extend the lead to 5-1.

Juniors Chris Cornelius and Peter Zimmermann and sophomore Mark Vierling were the other Tigers with at least two hits.

Junior Jacob Cantleberry kept Tennessee mostly quiet in the first three frames, but after allowing two hits and a run in the fourth that cut the lead to 5-2, he was replaced by sophomore Ian Bedell. At 3 2/3 innings, it was Cantleberry’s shortest start since April 12 against Louisiana State.

Bedell and the rest of the Tiger bullpen could do little to stop the Volunteers from then on. Four Tiger relievers combined to give up nine runs on six hits while issuing nine walks over the final 5 1/3 innings as the home team stormed in front. Seven of Tennessee’s eleven total runs were scored with two outs.

Saturday

Missouri evened the series with a 6-2 victory Saturday.

Starting on the mound for the Tigers, junior T.J. Sikkema’s outing was cut short when the game went into a two-hour rain delay in the bottom of the third inning.

No runs had been scored.

Shortly after play resumed, Missouri broke the scoreless tie in the top of the fourth on a single from sophomore Chad McDaniel. In the sixth inning with his team still up 1-0, McDaniel hit a three-run homer to extend the lead.

Tennessee scored two runs on a bases-loaded walk and a double in the sixth and eighth innings, respectively. However, the Tigers added two more in the eighth to put the game out of reach.

Sunday

Going into Sunday with the series tied was nothing new for Missouri. It was the fifth time this year in SEC play the final game was a rubber match.

Redshirt junior Jordan Gubelman opened on the mound for the Tigers, his second start of the year. After retiring the first two batters of the game, he allowed five straight Volunteers to reach base, resulting in four runs. Cantleberry entered for the second and didn’t have any more success, allowing a three-run homer to junior Andre Lipcius to increase Tennessee’s lead to seven.

MU mounted its comeback in the next inning. Brumfield pulled a triple down the right field line to bring home two runs, before scoring on a sacrifice fly from Cornelius. With the bases clear, junior centerfielder Kameron Misner restarted the rally with a single. Zimmermann followed with a single of his own, moving Misner to third. Zimmermann stole second, and both scored on McDaniel’s single. Senior infielder Paul Gomez greeted freshman Camden Sewell with a two-run homer after a pitching change. Tie game.

Tennessee threatened again in the seventh. Sophomore reliever Konnor Ash retired the first two hitters he faced before a hit by pitch and two walks loaded the bases. After his abbreviated start on Saturday, Sikkema entered to try to put the fire out. He walked junior Justin Ammons to give Tennessee an 8-7 lead.

The deficit didn’t last long. Zimmermann led off the eighth with a single. Two batters later, Gomez connected for his second homer of the game, putting Missouri in front for the first time all afternoon. The Tigers added an insurance run on Brumfield’s sacrifice fly, and Sikkema set down the last six batters he faced to secure the series victory.

With the midweek season over, Missouri’s next game will be on May 10, beginning a three game road series at Vanderbilt.

Edited by Emily Leiker | eleiker@themaneater.com

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